When I get records like this, I transfer them to CD using the click remover in my sound card. I understand that it's not the same as playing them, but at least I get the benefit of the music. You always have the problem of these "eyeball" grading methods, because the "eyeballer" is not always accurate. Pretty much everything is "near mint," whatever that means.
My last Ebay purchase was a disappointment similar to the one you describe, but I got a partial refund from seller, because it was a rare record that I wanted desperately, and I was going to keep it anyway. It was an inexperienced visual grader, who had been selling records on Ebay for about a year. I think you pretty much have to play the record to know how it will sound.
Also some stereo rigs make more of the crackles than some other rigs. But that's another story.
And good luck from the old click remover,